DBA act blog part II – An introduction to WBA, the online evaluation tool

With 2020 ending, I think we all breathed a sigh of relief (obviously with our facemasks on) and we are ready to look forward to what 2021 has to bring. Besides the Dutch government gearing up for a mass-vaccination scheme this year, they have also introduced the pilot scheme for an online questionnaire as part of the DBA act, discussed in our previous blog written last year. The online questionnaire, officially called Webmodule Beoordeling Arbeidsrelatie (WBA), which was originally planned to go live in Q4 2020, was officially introduced last week to the Dutch market.

The pilot scheme will be live for 6 months, after which they will analyse the data and evaluate if this ‘online employment relationship evaluation tool’ will indeed be beneficial and used permanently in the quest of fair taxation for both the self-employed and the businesses who engage their services.

The Dutch government has conveniently created a website in English providing an explanation of what the tool is for and how it works. However, the actual questionnaire is currently only in Dutch. It is unclear whether an English translation will be available when this tool becomes mandatory.

It is important to realise that during the pilot phase, any result coming from the questionnaire is not legally binding. In addition, the questionnaire is entirely anonymous – so it is well worthwhile going into the tool to experiment with it, understand what questions are asked, and give yourself the opportunity to become familiar with it. Even though the questions are in Dutch, it is easy to open a second browser with a translating tool to assist.

Besides evaluating this online tool, the government is also keen to have conversations with groups that are affected by these changes, to fully understand the way things are working now, when should an assignment be picked up by a self-employed person, and other possible bottlenecks in current regulation? This was supposed to happen last year but was delayed due to COVID-19.

It sounds like the Dutch government and, more particularly, those in charge of this process are finally aware that this change in regulation needs a careful approach and any change will be introduced in phases. We should not forget though that with elections planned in March 2021, the process could be delayed again.

Should this tool become the norm and the way to identify the working relationship between employer and self-employed (worker classification) then the scheme will have a lot of similarity to the IR35 process in the UK.

Beeline can help enterprises facilitate visibility of these workers by creating an external link to the official evaluation tool, as well as adding fields to add attachments of the confirmation, or what is currently in use called ‘the model agreement’. For more information, contact your usual Beeline representative or Rasmus Buchholz on rasmus.buchholz@beeline.com.

This blog was written by Simonetta Hainebach, Beeline Solutions Consultant, EMEA.